Plans to replace a derelict warehouse with a block of nine flats were narrowly approved despite concerns about design and access for emergency vehicles.

Brent Council’s planning committee gave the green light to a scheme in Ealing Road, Wembley, on Wednesday (November 12).

But it relied on Cllr Robert Johnson, standing in as chairman of the committee, to use his casting vote following a split decision.

The car-free development, which will be up to three storeys tall, is situated in a residential area and next to a school.

Neighbouring properties were concerned that the block will result in a loss of privacy and sunlight, describing it as “overbearing”.

It comes after it was redesigned to avoid the homes overlooking the adjacent Alperton Community School.

Several councillors took issue with the narrow access to the site, noting that delivery vehicles would rely on a nearby loading bay.

And while fire engines would not require such close access, council officers said ambulances would not be able to drive up to the building.

They described the distance they could reach as “reasonable” – a point that was repudiated by Cllr Michael Maurice.

Architect Simon Owen said the project would “significantly improve the area” given that it would replace “an eyesore” and “health and safety risk” in the form of the warehouse.

He suggested that providing accommodation at the site was the “best-suited option” and that it would be a “beneficial use” of the space.

Despite the concerns raised by residents and some members of the planning committee, the scheme was approved based on Cllr Johnson’s view.